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DONALD F. MAZZIOTTI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/04/87)

decided: August 4, 1987.

DONALD F. MAZZIOTTI, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Original Jurisdiction, Appeal in the case of Donald F. Mazziotti v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Ethics Commission.

COUNSEL

Morey M. Myers, General Counsel, with him, Andrew H. Cline, and Eric B. Schnurer, Deputy General Counsel, for petitioner.

Vincent J. Dopko, General Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 211]

Acting Commerce Secretary Donald F. Mazziotti has filed a petition for review invoking both this Court's original and appellate jurisdiction, 42 Pa. C.S. ยงยง 761,

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 212763]

, and an application for special relief, pursuant to Pa. R.A.P. 1532(a), requesting this Court to (1) vacate a vote recorded July 21, 1987, by the State Ethics Commission (Commission), (2) direct the Commission to change the vote of Chairman G. Seibert Pancoast so that the record indicates that he was in favor of the motion finding Mazziotti not to be in violation of the Ethics Act,*fn1 (3) declare that the Commission acted erroneously and unlawfully in refusing to vacate its July 21, 1987 vote, and (4) enjoin the Commission from issuing any written opinion or advice that reflects the majority Commission vote finding a violation of the Act. The Commission has filed an answer to the application for special relief and preliminary objections challenging this Court's original jurisdiction over this matter.

History of the Case

Incident to the Senate confirmation proceedings on his nomination for Secretary of Commerce, Mazziotti requested the advice and opinion of the Commission*fn2 as to the propriety of a severance agreement executed with his previous employer prior to assuming public office. At the conclusion of a public meeting considering Mazziotti's request, the Commission on July 21, 1987, through two votes by a 4-3 margin, (1) rejected a motion finding Mazziotti not to be in violation of the Ethics Act, and (2) adopted a motion finding Mazziotti in violation of that statute were he to serve as Secretary of Commerce.

Upon reflection after the meeting that he may have miscast his vote, Chairman Pancoast directed that a special Commission meeting take place on July 28, 1987.

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 213]

At that emergency meeting, Pancoast announced that he did in fact cast his vote in error. However, Pancoast directed the preparation of an opinion consistent with the July 21, 1987 Commission vote and informed Mazziotti of his right to file a petition for reconsideration of that opinion. Counsel to Mazziotti requested immediate ...


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